Breitbart Claim: Jailed O’Keefe Couldn’t Access Attorney For Hours

February 1, 2010 9:21 a.m.

Interviewed on Fox just moments ago, Andrew Breitbart claimed that alleged Landrieu phone tamperer James O’Keefe “sat in jail for 28 hours without access to an attorney.”

Breitbart, who has been on a public campaign defending O’Keefe, a paid contributor to Breitbart’s, also charged that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Louisiana leaked information to the press “helping” them to frame the episode as “Watergate Junior.”Breitbart complained that after the news of the arrests broke last Tuesday, O’Keefe’s attorney and Breitbart himself were being called by the media but they could not locate O’Keefe — “and that’s because he was sitting in jail without access to an attorney,” Breitbart said.

He accused the U.S. attorney of leaking information to the media in a “concerted effort” to frame the episode in a way that would put O’Keefe in a bad position.

Asked by Fox’s Megyn Kelly what motivation the U.S. Attorney would have to make such an effort, Breitbart responded: “Well, it’s tied to the Justice Department. And we’ve been very aggressive in asking Eric Holder to investigate what’s seen on the ACORN tapes, and he’s ignored it.”

Interviewed by TPMmuckraker this afternoon, Jan Mann, first assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said: “The suggestion that he makes about the motivations of our office are untrue. We’re not going to try this case in the press. But we deny the accusations about our office.”

Mann declined to comment on the claim that O’Keefe was denied access to a lawyer.

It’s not clear that there were any leaks in the case before the office of the U.S. Attorney sent out a press release announcing the charges last Tuesday afternoon. Around the same time, the first article on the case, in the Times-Picayune, was posted online.

O’Keefe is reportedly being represented by Washington, D.C., attorney Michael Madigan. He is scheduled to be on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

(This post has been updated to include comment from Mann.)

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